Archive for October, 2012

Are You Spying on Your Email Subscribers?

no spamDoes your Email service Provider (ESP) provide you with reports on your email campaigns? Do you track your email opens? Can you see who and when opened your emails, clicked on which links, unsubscribed from your list, reported it as spam, etc?

If you answered yes, don’t you, at least sometimes, feel like you’re spying on your audience?

I’ve been on line for many years and I have yet to come across a privacy policy which says: “After you give us your name, email and permission to contact you, we will also be able to see when you open your email, at what time of day, how many links you clicked, etc. If you agree, please click here.”

If you saw a privacy policy like that, would you sign up? I didn’t think so.

Being CAN-SPAM compliant is one thing, but shouldn’t we go beyond compliance? We should make sure that we respect our subscribers’ privacy as much as possible. At the very least, try not to take advantage of the data you can gather from your ESP reports.

Here’s one possible abuse scenario: an email marketer sends out his/her campaign and closely monitors open rates. S/he then decides to call subscriber Mr. X because he opened his email, who is obviously at his work (you can make an assumption like that if the email address is J.Jones@CorporateSoundingDomain.com).

S/he proceeds to say: “Hey M. X, I just noticed you opened my email, clicked on a link and I thought I could offer some additional information about my products.

Bad idea, I hope you’ll agree.

Tracking is not all bad, actually it helps both our subscribers and us as email newsletter publishers. The data I’m talking about is “bounces,” or undeliverable emails. This gives us a list of email addresses to which our ESP has not been able to deliver emails. They may be obsolete email addresses, as when people move from one ISP to another, or, if they’re using company email, they have changed jobs. In case you’re not using double opt in, you subscribers might have entered a bad email either by accident or on purpose – just one more reason to use double opt in.

Mind you, not all ESPs are created equal; of the ones I have first-hand experience with, I like the detail reporting available from GetResponse, Aweber, and MadMimi.

Respect your subscriber’s privacy by going above the requirements of the law. There are other ways to keep track of your list, buy monitoring unsubscribes, for example.

Keep sending your e-newsletter out, it’s still one of the best way to reach out to your audience, with a very high return on investment.

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photo credit: hegarty_david via photopin cc

Posted in: Email Marketing

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